Meet the 16-year-old college student who shot 10-under par

The Scoop

Hartpury College student Sophie Johnson tells LG how she came back from injury to shoot 10-under par in her first college match

Many of us dream of shooting 10-under par. It is an amazing score for anyone, never mind a 16 year old.

Sophie Johnson, who is studying for a BTEC in Sports Performance at Hartpury College in Gloucester got this amazing result in a college match at Northants County. After being injured for five months earlier in the year, it was quite the come back.

She chatted to LG about why she thinks women’s golf is on the up and how even her mum didn’t believe her score…

Congratulations on your finish, how did you react?

I was really happy, I couldn’t stop smiling.

My mum actually didn’t believe me at first, she was really shocked. My dad was very proud and really happy for me, particularly after the year I’ve had.

I was injured playing football at the beginning of the year. I had a really bad tackle where I landed on top of someone else and was sandwiched between two people. I still don’t know exactly what it did to my back but it caused a lot of muscle spasms. It’s getting better now and I’m doing a plenty of physio and exercises for it.

I had to pull out of most of my events and then I didn’t get back to playing properly until half way through the season. So I was a bit behind everyone else. But this has definitely given me my confidence back.

Were you nervous about playing in the competition?

Not really, it kind of just sank in on the last tee when I realised that I was 9 under. So I was a bit nervous hitting my final approach-shot to the green, but I still made a birdie. It felt really good.

I just literally holed every putt that I needed to and I hit 18 out of 18 greens, so nothing really went wrong.

Are you enjoying studying at Hartpury?

Hartpury College

I’m really enjoying it, I’ve only been here for two months. I get a lot of support and everyone works really well together. The coaches are really willing to help and give up their time for us as well.

Do many of your friends play golf?

I’ve made a lot of friends through golf, in different countries and across the UK. I’ve made some good friends at the academy at Hartpury as well.

One of the boys here went to my school, but we were the only two in my year who played. There were a few older ones because we had quite a good school team really, we played at Woodhall Spa and the national finals every year.

Would you like to have a career in golf?

Yeah I’d like to go to university in America and hopefully play on the ladies’ tour after that.

What do you like most about golf?

I quite like the individuality of it and how everyone can get good scores but in such different ways and have their own style of playing. I really like all the new people you meet and I love playing as part of a team and helping each other out.

Do you think a lot of girls just think it’s a sport for old men?

I think it’s more the boys who say that, that’s what they all said when I was at school. But I think now that women’s golf is getting more coverage on TV, everyone is seeing it as something to look up to and really enjoy.

People in my friendship group will ask if they can come with us when they see us all going to the range. So I think more and more people are wanting to give it a go.

Hartpury College Golf Academy manager Matthew Ellis told LG: “We have some really good players so we are used to people shooting under par and getting good scores. But 10 under par is unique, you just don’t here of a 16-year-old getting scores like that. She has a huge amount of ability, that’s a given really. It was a phenomenal score.

“I don’t think many people know about the college golf that we have in the UK. Most people just know about the ones in the states, but there is quite a thriving scene for college golf here too.”

“Over the winter we play on the Intercollegiate Tour where we play around seven matches against another three or four colleges, then if we come top in these matches we go through to the national final. The standard is really high, its a good opportunity for students to study in the UK and play lots of golf.”

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